Among Republican Presidential Candidates, Not a Single Friend of Social Security


 

Click here to download a chart with supporting quotes as a PDF.

Additional Detailed Fact Sheets:

Galveston Plan Fact Sheet
Rick Santorum
Newt Gingrich
Rick Perry
Mitt Romney
Republican Presidential Candidates' positions on Medicare and Medicaid 

Quotes claiming Social Security is a Ponzi Scheme and a Fraud
Quotes claiming Social Security's Retirement Age Should be Raised
Quotes claiming Social Security Should be Partially Privatized With Private Accounts
Quotes claiming Social Security's Payroll Tax Cap Should Not Be Raised
Quotes claiming Social Security Should be Means Tested

GOP Candidates claim that Social Security is a Ponzi Scheme and a Fraud

GOP Claim:

SOCIAL SECURITY IS A PONZI SCHEME AND A FRAUD

Newt Gingrich

"It is a fraud and a lie the way that Congress deals with Social Security." - Cain-Gingrich Debate, November 5, 2011

Ron Paul

“Technically, [Social Security is unconstitutional]. … There’s no authority [in the Constitution for it].” - Fox News Sunday, May 15, 2011

 

Mitt Romney

While Romney has not used the term “Ponzi scheme,” he has called it a fraud.

“There simply is no [trust] ‘fund’ safely invested somewhere… To put it in a nutshell, the American people have been effectively defrauded out of their Social Security. … Let’s look at what would happen if someone in the private sector did a similar thing… They would go to jail. But what has happened to the people responsible for the looming bankruptcy of Social Security? They keep returning to congress every two years.”

No Apology, 2010, pp. 172-3

Rick Santorum

No position stated.

THE FACTS

  • Social Security has existed for 76 years and it has never failed to pay out benefits on schedule.
  • Social Security has a $2.7 trillion surplus today; it is able to pay out full benefits for the next 25 years. After that it can pay out more than three-quarters of promised benefits.
  • Social Security’s surplus is invested in U.S. Treasury securities, which are considered the safest investment in the world, and held in trust for American workers and their families.
  • A Ponzi scheme is a deliberate illegal attempt to defraud investors. Fraud is a criminal act involving intentional misrepresentation for personal gain. Not only is it wrong, it undermines the nation’s institutions to suggest that any of the presidents or congresses since 1935 have used Social Security to cheat the American people.

 

Social Security's Retirement Age Should Be Raised

GOP Claim:

SOCIAL SECURITY’S RETIREMENT AGE SHOULD BE RAISED

Newt Gingrich

 Has not stated a position.

Ron Paul

 Has not stated a position.


Mitt Romney

"Alternatively, we could gradually raise the retirement age. This does have a certain logic to it..."

-No Apology, 2010, p. 173

Rick Santorum

 “I proposed [raising the retirement age] back in 1994, and I think that’s an option that has to be on the table.” –Meet the Press, June 12, 2011

“We’re in the middle of a phase-up [in the retirement age] to age 67…We need to continue to do that.” – Remarks at Lancaster, SC, September 13, 2011
 

THE FACTS

  • Raising the full Social Security retirement age to 69 would be a 13% benefit cut no matter what age someone retires once it is fully phased in.
  • This would be unfair to millions of older workers with health problems and physically demanding jobs, and to the growing number of older unemployed workers who have a much harder time finding new work after being laid off.

 

Social Security Should be Partially Privatized With Private Accounts

GOP Claim:

SOCIAL SECURITY SHOULD BE PARTIALLY PRIVATIZED WITH PRIVATE ACCOUNTS

Newt Gingrich

"Any candidate who is not prepared to give younger Americans the right to choose [a private account] has no serious plan for Social Security."
- Cain-Gingrich Debate, November 5, 2011

 

Ron Paul

“But I want to privatize the retirement funds and put the responsibility on the individual.” -CNN Situation Room Interview, September 8, 2010

 

Mitt Romney

"One thing that [President Bush] proposed, and it's a good idea, is to take some of that money, or all of that surplus [Social Security] money and allow people to have a personal account."

--Town Hall, 6/5/2007

Rick Santorum

Personal retirement accounts provide individuals—not the government—with control and ownership. And they hold the promise of a greater return for future generations than what they are promised by today’s Social Security system. (The Hill, March 1, 2005)

THE FACTS

  • Raising the full Social Security retirement age to 69 would be a 13% benefit cut no matter what age someone retires once it is fully phased in.
  • This would be unfair to millions of older workers with health problems and physically demanding jobs, and to the growing number of older unemployed workers who have a much harder time finding new work after being laid off.

 

Social Security's Payroll Tax Cap Should Not Be Raised

GOP Claim:

SOCIAL SECURITY’S PAYROLL TAX CAP SHOULD NOT BE INCREASED

Newt Gingrich

Gingrich opposes increasing the payroll tax; under his plan, the payroll tax "would eventually be phased out altogether" as the system switches to private accounts.

 – Gingrich 2012 Unleashing Growth and Innovation Plan

Ron Paul

 Paul believes payroll taxes should be reduced and eventually eliminated, en route to a dismantling of the entire Social Security system.

“If the administration truly wants to give people more control over their retirement dollars, why not simply reduce payroll taxes and let them keep their own money to invest privately as they see fit? This is the true private solution.” (January 24, 2005)


Mitt Romney

“One option that should not be on the table is raising the payroll tax or expanding the base of income to which the tax is applied.” Believe in America: Mitt Romney’s Plan for Jobs and Economic Growth, 2011, p. 142

Rick Santorum


“So to say, why don’t we just raise the cap, you’re basically just taxing people to fund the program…You’ve turned the Social Security system into an income support and replacement system, to a welfare transfer tax…[Raising the cap] would exacerbate [that] problem.” (Interview, November 1, 2011)

THE FACTS

  • Social Security payroll tax contributions are paid on wages up to $106,800 in 2011 – 6% of the population has wages above that cap. Eliminating the cap so that all earnings are subject to the payroll tax would close Social Security’s projected 75-year funding gap.

 

Social Security Should be Means Tested

GOP Claim:

SOCIAL SECURITY SHOULD BE MEANS TESTED

Newt Gingrich

Has not stated a position.

Ron Paul

No direct position, but Paul sees it as irrelevant since he would dismantle the entire program and allow people to opt-out of Social Security. (MSNBC Interview, April 27, 2011)

 

Mitt Romney

“Another option is to means test the benefits to some degree. And again, they did a similar thing like that in Great Britain… and that lowered the cost somewhat.” New Hampshire Town Hall, 8/9/11

Rick Santorum

No position stated.

THE FACTS

  • Means testing benefits saves virtually no money unless it is applied to large parts of the middle class (those making $50,000 or more).
  • Means testing would raise administrative costs and undermine broad public support for Social Security by converting it into a welfare program.

 

 

 


View the full text of the petition here


Overheard: